Dining with Duvall

A Christmas Poem and Mulled Cider For the Holiday

My friend Judie Apablaza enclosed a Christmas poem with her holiday card again this year. She noted images she observed around the city and compared them to memories from her childhood visits to Grandmother's farm in the Midwest. We don't have space to print the entire poem. Judie entrusted me to share excerpts with our readers. I feel you may appreciate Judie's vivid images. If you celebrate the holiday, my family wishes yours -- a Blessed Christmas.

Excerpts from:

"Urban Christmas"

Winter's sun traces its circuit lower on the horizon,

The skyline is starkly flat and geometric.

Past seasons' colors are softened and dusty,

Faded outside umbrellas shelter empty tables.

Cars swarming, encircling package-burdened shoppers.

Post office lines, anonymous consumers with averted eyes

and impatient feet.

Holiday fare and hurried cheerfulness.

Merry faces, brand-name bags, weary children stream from slow-moving ribbons of steel.

A shopper tarries to view the swirling parade from a mid-mall bench.

A woodpecker stops to drink from the reservoir run-off.

A red-tailed hawk soars overhead,

Deer venture down from the hills to a city golf course.

It is early and a broken pipe runs freely.

The mountain lion hunts in the California chaparral.

Computers are dark, DVDs are encased,

But the owl calls in the stillness before morning light.

Far away, open spaces beckon to renew our inner selves, our souls and spirits.

A memory of the sound of snow crunching beneath one's feet.

The roar of the wind through a pine forest,

Miles away an almost imperceptible train whistles.

Buffalo, head down, coats shaggy, close together with their

backs to the blowing storm.

Let us reserve a quiet, peaceful space for our thoughts,

A time to renew our sacred visions,

Ancient symbols of replenishment are still evident,

A respite by the fireplace, a bird on a branch.

Each to interpret the delicate balance between the old world and the new, the sacred and the profane.

As we rush through this fiberoptic world, remember,

That in the heart of Nature, God is revealed.

Mulled Apple Cider or Red Wine

Many European households serve a mulled drink to Christmas visitors. Use a tea ball or cut a piece of cheesecloth and fill with mulling spices, tie with string or wire to make a sachet. Drop sachet or tea ball into a large pot filled with two quarts of red wine or apple cider.

Mulling spices:

* 2 teaspoons orange zest

* 1 teaspoon allspice

* 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

* 1 teaspoon whole cloves

* 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Heat on medium setting, do not boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Serve in heatproof mugs or glasses with a stick of cinnamon. Serves 12.

Write Lynn Duvall at boblynn@ix.Netcom.com or in care of the Valley Sun.


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